How to Cut the Cord: The Best Alternatives to Cable
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I used to think I couldn’t live without cable. Two years ago, I saw the light and cut the cord. I’ve saved $2,500 since then and shaved my monthly bill to $27.
If you’re ready to do the same and save $80 per month or more, here are some of the best alternatives to cable that you can use to cut the cord on your cable bill.
1. DirecTV Now
We’ve tried DirecTV Now several times, taking advantage of their free trials, and it is probably our favorite cable alternative. It’s just like DirecTV, but without the contract.
Monthly packages start at $35 (for 60+ channels) and go to over $60. Each package offers ESPN, which is great for sports lovers and allows you to customize the guide to your liking. They’ve also recently added a cloud-based DVR to their offering.
You can also stream DirecTV Now from a wide variety of devices.
2. Sling TV
Sling TV is more established than DirecTV Now and is offered by the other satellite giant – Dish TV. We’ve tried Sling TV several times, and is a great lower-priced offering ($25 for 25 channels) that has more customization than DirecTV Now.
Sling TV offers a DVR if you feel you can’t live without one. They’ve also recently made it much simpler to navigate with a handy guide feature.
**Tip: Love NFL football but don’t know how to watch your favorite team without cable? Here’s how to watch NFL games without cable and still catch all the action!**
3. Hulu with live tv
Hulu is a streaming service, similar to Netflix, that offers access to shows from the networks as well as some cable channels. With plans at $8 or $12 per month, it’s relatively inexpensive.
The downside is that you have to wait 24 hours after the show aired to watch your show and many only go five episodes back.
They also have a new service, Hulu Live, that costs $35 per month for 40 channels and a cloud-based DVR.
Philo is a relatively new streaming service that has a unique spin – they don’t include sports channels in their offering.
While there aren’t any sports channels on Philo, if you don’t mind that, they do have many other popular channels that most want after cutting the cord.
At only $16 per month, Philo may be one of the better options to get the shows you want without spending too much.
In fact, Philo’s low monthly cost is its strongest selling point. Not having sports available to stream is a big part of how it is able to keep its monthly subscription fee so low.
You can enjoy 37 channels in its cheapest channel bundle, some of which include:
- DIY Network
- Food Network
- Nick Jr.
- Travel Channel
That’s just a partial list! Philo does offer a 46 channel plan that’s $20 per month. Philo offers a 7-day free trial to check out their platform.
5. Amazon Video
Their movies aren’t always the best, but they’ve also got a lot of original content like Netflix. If you choose to get Amazon Prime, it is $99 per year, so works out to $8.25 per month.
We did have Amazon Prime before cutting the cord so I don’t count it towards our cost as we’d have it anyway.
FuboTV started as a soccer only offering. They now also offer access to dozens of sports stations like FS1, FS2, BTN and more – along with DVR functionality.
FuboTV also offers access to live local CBS, Fox and NBC in certain markets. You can check out FuboTV through their free 7-day trial.
By taking advantage of different free trials, we’ve found that you can replace a lot of what you might watch with cable. Just remember to do your research before cutting the cord and take advantage of free trials to find the service you like best.
how to Get Local Channels Without Cable
It’s not as difficult as one might think, thanks to a digital antenna – which is the first thing you need to buy after you call your cable company to cut the cord on your current plan.
Most digital antennas are paper thin and can set up next to your television, or adhered to a nearby window – it just depends on what type of antenna you buy.
There are many digital antennas to choose from, and most of them are relatively inexpensive and still allow for TV reception without cable.
7. Mohu Leaf
We have the Mohu Leaf on both of our TVs, and they’ve been great for us.
Here are the best selling digital antennas on Amazon. As you can see, most are relatively inexpensive and should do what you need to get local channels without cable.
even cheaper Alternatives to Cable
If everything you’ve read so far is still too expensive, check out these alternatives, which have a low one-time cost as opposed to an ongoing monthly bill.
8. Amazon Fire TV Stick
The Fire TV Stick is the go-to device in our home. At only $39, it’s relatively cheap and plugs right into our TV. It lets you access 25 different apps and channels as well as stream Netflix, Amazon, and HBO Now.
9. Amazon Fire TV
We recently added the Amazon Fire TV to our home and really like the device.
The Fire TV is a more amped up version of the TV stick, operating on the same platform but with a cost of $69. It adds Alexa capabilities and considerably more gaming options.
The Roku provides access to many of the same apps and channels as the Fire TV Stick does, while also being portable. If you want a device with more features and 4k ability, you can get the Roku Streaming Media player for roughly $50.
Think what you can do with an extra $80 per month. That’s nearly $1,000 per year ($960 to be exact). That’s money that can be used to pay off debt, save for retirement, save for a vacation or many other things – all of which are much more satisfying than paying to watch something on a magic box.
Have you cut the cord yet? How much are you saving each month as a result? If you’ve not cut the cord, what’s holding you back?
John is the founder of Frugal Rules, a dad, husband and veteran of the financial services industry whose writing has been featured in Forbes, CNBC, Yahoo Finance and more.
Passionate about helping people learn from his mistakes, John shares financial tools and tips to help you enjoy the freedom that comes from living frugally. One of his favorite tools is Personal Capital , which he used to plan for retirement and keep track of his finances in less than 15 minutes each month.
Another one of John's passions is helping people save $80 per month by axing their expensive cable subscriptions and replacing them with more affordable ones, like Hulu with Live TV.
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